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This Sunday and every Sunday// One less orphan

Today is orphan Sunday. Our church is making a video and I was asked for Abby's referral pictures. I cried when I uploaded them. What a difference a year makes. One year ago, Abby was an orphan. Today, she has a family.

2010: Abby's referral pictures

Oct. 2011
How incredible is God?! How blessed am I?! I read this yesterday on Lara's blog:
God's heart is for orphans to become sons [and daughters]. And He lets imperfect people like me be a part of that. Mommies who sometimes let their kids watch too many cartoons or forget to pack a spoon in their lunchboxes. There was a time I thought He only wanted the really great moms to do this job. I was so wrong. He equips me (of all people!) to do this. Everyday I wake up, completely incapable of handling the day ahead. And everyday, He gives me just what I need to love these children He has loaned me.
Today I just am amazed. Adoption is not easy or glamorous. It's not always fun, and I am not always patient. There are hard days and many times I feel like the wounds are too deep for my inept love to heal. But God is so present, and His love never fails. And it is all so worth it.

Below is my post from last year's Orphan Sunday. Don't forget to remember them. See where loving orphans can take is soooo worth it.

This Sunday and Every Sunday

Orphan Sunday.

I have to admit, a little part of me doesn’t like that we call it that. Like it’s limited to one day a year. We don’t have “Prayer Sunday” or “Quiet Time Sunday” or “Obey Jesus Sunday”---these are a regular part of how we live out our faith daily, they aren’t just highlighted on one Sunday every November. It would seem weird to say, “Share the Gospel Sunday”.

I guess I understand. It’s there so we don’t forget our responsibility and calling. It’s a chance to speak up all the more loudly for those who cannot speak for themselves. Especially here, in America. Today, we sit in our comfy churches where our kids go to Sunday school and eat their cups of goldfish and accidentally spill their dixie cups of clean water and where we sip on our coffee and nibble on our donuts and complain that the thermostat is set a little too low and the volume of the speakers set a little too high. Even in gospel-centered, truth-teaching, God-worshipping churches, we can be mostly isolated from the situation that over 147 million children face every morning when they wake up: no mom. no dad. Today helps us remember.

Because we do forget. I forget. We forget that there is an orphan crisis. Not just that there are orphans in the world. But an orphan crisis. 147 million is a number I can hardly begin to wrap my head around. I can write it; but I can barely grasp the magnitude of that. many. little. children.

Who will teach these 147 million children to ride a bike? To write their name? Who will tuck them in and tell them stories and comfort them in the middle of the night when they have a nightmare? Who will buy 147 million pairs of light-up tennis shoes and 147 million pairs of jeans and 147 million toothbrushes? Who will fill their Christmas stockings and their Easter baskets? Who will take their pictures over the years and notice every little change as they grow? Who will kiss their bo-bo’s and bandage their skinned knees and make them chicken noodle soup when they have a cold? Who will laugh at their silly jokes and hold them tight when they are sad? Who will throw 147 million birthday parties, with cake and hats and games and party favors?

Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture, religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them grow up choose the right person to marry, find work, and learn to parent their own children?1

And who, who will tell 147 million children that they are loved by their Creator and that He has a purpose for their lives?

The Bible says who. US.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans
and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Adoption is not the only answer.

Adoption rescues few. Adoption illuminates by example: these few once-loved children…have been offered a second chance…like young ambassadors, they instruct us. From them, we gain impressions about what their age-mates must be like, the ones living and dying by the millions, without parents… For every orphan turning up in a northern-hemisphere household—winning the spelling bee, winning the cross country race, joining the Boy Scouts, learning to rollerblade, playing the trumpet of the violin----ten thousand children remain behind alone.2

There is much for us to do. There is something everyone can do. For the orphans in our country and around the world.

So adoption may not be the only answer. But it is part of it. Maybe you are being called to adopt. Look into it. Ask questions. Don’t dismiss it and let the impulse pass by without weighing the thought: is one of those children your child?

And if not adoption--there are so many ways to serve orphans. A few blog posts I recommend to get started:

Read. Pray. Investigate. Let God lead you. But don’t wait for a flashing neon sign---the call is clear.

Tonight at our church we’ll watch a short video and have some info out about adoption and foster care. Our pastor will mention it briefly during the sermon. We won't have any fancy posters or cool decorations, but I suppose it will pass for a decent attempt at an Orphan Sunday.

And that’s ok with me. Because the spirit of adoption and a love for the least is written on the hearts of our people. And while we still have a long way to go as we figure out individually and corporately how to live that out, this Sunday will not be a reminder. We already know. It’s a responsibility we own and pray to obey daily.

As Christians, we must go to church and worship together. We must read the word and pray and share our faith.

And we must take care of orphans. We must hurt for them and pray for them and serve them and love them. This Sunday and every Sunday hereafter.

In you the orphan finds mercy.
Hosea 14:3

1This paragraph is quoted from “There is No Me without You” by Melissa Fay Greene, and the paragraph before it is adapted from the same section as the quote on pages 22-23.

2Greene, p. 24